May 29, 2024

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Interview with Luigi DeCicco: There is never a balance, between intellect and soul: Video

Interview with Blues vocalist Luigi DeCicco. An interview by email in writing. – First, let’s start out with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music. How exactly did your adventure take off? When did you realize that this was a passion you could make a living out of?

Luigi DeCicco: – I grew up in a small city in the south if Italy, Benevento. Thanks to my uncle and grandfather, I began to play guitar and piano at home. We used to play music during parties to entertain family’s acquaintances and that’s exactly how I started. When I realised that this could be a job, nobody opposed this choice, so for me it was a natural thing to keep on doing what I was already doing.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Festivals 2023

JBN: – How has your sound evolved over time? What have you been doing to find and develop your own sound?

LD: – I read a lot. I can read books for hours and at the end of the day, feel as I have learnt a particular scale, or a rhythm on the guitar. I also do theater, write verse, paint. Daily discovery is the cornerstone of my understatement of music, and spiritual evolution. The sound is a consequence of this discovering, and for me it has nothing to do with a specific technique or exercise on the instrument. I myself want to be an instrument, a channel.

JBN: – What routine practices or exercises have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical proficiency, in terms of both rhythm and harmony?

LD: – This works differently for every musician. For me, the absolute best practice is to go out and play with as many people as possible, and play genres you’ve never thought of. You will never be disappointed. My daily practice is basically a way to keep my body ready for when these encounters occur.

JBN: – Have you changed through the years? Any charges or overall evolution? And if so why?

LD: – I’d rather speak about metamorphosis, since evolution implies that I’m going towards the better: I wish it was like that. But sometimes you just can’t. Sometimes you have to roll back, to hide, to rest. Sometimes your evolution leads you to a blind alley, and you have to stop. Lou Reed said: Imagine what you could do, if you weren’t afraid. My biggest metamorphosis was indeed when I followed my path without caring about what people think. I’m improving.

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JBN: – In your opinion, what’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?
LD: – For me there is never a balance, between intellect and soul. It’s a relentless fight and it’s difficult to foresee the winner. When I play, I let these opposites challenge each other, and let one prevale on the other.
JBN: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; are you okay with delivering people the emotion they long for?
LD: – It is difficult for us to know what kind of emotion the people is  looking for when attending the show, so I would say that it is impossible for us to deliver a prepared feeling to the audience in advance. Of course, each place has its own particular vibe and we try to respect that. This might be lead us to play some tracks over others, turning up the volume rather then playing softly, and so on. Above all, we like to experiment a lot on stage, and that always results in an always-changing, open-ended concert. Sometimes displacing, some other times soothing but never cheating them. We don’t do concerts to please the audience intentionally : when it happens, if that happens, we are pleased and amazed as much as them.

JBN: – How can we get young people interested in blues when most of standard tunes are half a century old?

LD: – I was 14 years old when I listened to my first blues record. It was a Reverend Gary Davis’ album. My uncle may have left it somewhere in the house, and one day I put it in the recorder. I had just started playing, and without knowing who he was, his singing and playing, his personal story, struck me.  That didn’t happen to me with a lot of the music my peers listened to. It didn’t matter to me. That music spoke to me and I listened to it. If something speaks to you, be it a painting painted 1,000 years ago, or the way you pour tea, it doesn’t matter how old it is: if it has soul, it will come to you forever. I believe this is the seed of the Inspiration: a driving urge that overtakes time.

JBN: – John Coltrane once said that music was his spirit. How do you perceive the spirit and the meaning of life?

LD: – Buddah would say: Miao. Don Cherry would say: Om Shanti Om. They have said it all. It’s difficult to say with words, I think it’s between love and improvisation, with moments of deep breathes.

JBN: – If you could change one single thing in the musical world and that would become reality, what would that be?

LD: – I really have no idea.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Festivals 2023

JBN: – Whom do you find yourself listening to these days?

LD: – Recently I have been listening to a lot of contemporary African authors such as Noora Seimayli, Lamin Fofana, Mdou Moctar. Piers Faccini, Brian Blade, Tom Skinner, Caetano Veloso,Ben LaMar Gay, Mark Pritchard, Sun Ra, Steve Gunn etc..

JBN: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine: where and why would you really want to go?

LD: – I would like to see the period between the 40’s and the 90’s, the evolution of the music and the humanity, how the war changed us and mostly how slow the time was running at the time.

Interview by Simon Sarg

Note: You can express your consent and join our association, which will give you the opportunity to perform at our Jazz and Blues festivals, naturally receiving an appropriate royalty. We cover all expenses. The objectives of the interview are: How to introduce yourself, your activities, thoughts and intellect, and make new discoveries for our US/EU Jazz & Blues Association, which organizes festivals, concerts and meetings in Boston and various European countries, why not for you too!! You can read more about the association here.

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